Sonic Adventure 2
|Sonic Adventure 2|
Dreamcast cover art
|Developer(s)||Sonic Team USA|
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Genre(s)||Platformer, action-adventure, multi-directional shooter|
Sonic Adventure 2 (ソニックアドベンチャー2 Sonikku Adobenchā Tsū?) is a 2001 video game developed by Sonic Team USA and published by Sega for the Dreamcast as part of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was released as the last Sonic game for a Sega console after the company decided to leave the console hardware business. A port for the Nintendo GameCube, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, was first released in Japan in December 2001, with new content. The game was later released digitally for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows in 2012.
The sequel to Sonic Adventure, Adventure 2 features two good-vs.-evil stories: a hero story of Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower and Knuckles the Echidna as they attempt to save the world, and a dark story following Shadow the Hedgehog, Doctor Eggman and Rouge the Bat in their attempt to conquer it. The stories are divided into three gameplay styles: traditional, fast-paced platforming for Sonic and Shadow; multi-directional shooting for Tails and Eggman; and action-exploration for Knuckles and Rouge. The game also includes an extensive Chao-raising system.
Sonic Adventure 2 was announced in October 1999 and exhibited at E3 2000. The game's development took 18 months, and it was designed to be faster-paced and more action-oriented than the original Adventure. Its scenery was influenced by U.S. locations such as San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. Adventure 2 received critical acclaim, with critics praising its gameplay variety, visuals and music but criticizing its camera, voice acting and plot. Although critical enthusiasm had waned by the release of Battle, this version sold over 1.44 million copies and the game as a whole received a number of accolades.
Sonic Adventure 2 is a 3D game with six playable characters, divided into two campaigns: Hero (with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, where the player battles to save the world) and Dark (with Shadow, Eggman and Rouge, where they battle to conquer it). Each character on each side has a playing style similar to the other characters on the side. The player moves through the Hero and Dark campaigns, switching between them at will. Each campaign cycles through levels of its three characters, telling different sides of the story. Levels have a variety of themes (such as cities, jungles, desert pyramids and outer space), with some followed by boss fights. Completing both the Hero and Dark campaigns unlocks a Last Story with all six characters, culminating in a final boss fight.
Sonic and Shadow play fast-paced levels, emphasizing platforming and gameplay. Their homing attack can lock onto robots created by Eggman and G.U.N., and they can grind on rails. Tails' and Eggman's levels are slower and oriented towards multi-directional shooting; they are confined to mechs in which they can jump short heights, hover and shoot enemies. Knuckles' and Rouge's levels are open and feature action-adventure gameplay with treasure hunting; in each level, they must find three shards of the Master Emerald. Their search is guided by radar and puzzle-based clues from harmless robots. Knuckles and Rouge can glide, defeat enemies with punches and kicks and scale walls, digging into them to find power-ups.
Adventure 2 has the health system found in many other Sonic games. The player collects rings scattered throughout the levels; being hit by an enemy while holding rings causes the player to drop them all, while being hit without rings causes them to lose a life. Tails and Eggman have the customary health bar, which is slowly refilled by collecting rings. Dying with no lives results in a game over screen. The characters are aided by occasional upgrades; in one, Sonic and Shadow can bounce up and down to reach higher areas and in another, Knuckles and Rouge can kick powerfully enough to break certain containers. Chaos Drives can be used with the player's Chao (small, anthropomorphic animals).
Separate from the main campaigns, the player can raise Chao as virtual pets. They have five attributes (Swim, Fly, Run, Power and Stamina) and a moral continuum from Hero to Dark. From the moment they hatch their stats can be increased with Chaos Drives, empowering them to compete in karate and racing minigames. Their alignment gradually changes, based on their affection for a characters; for example, a Chao which likes Tails will gradually become more heroic. Playing with Chao increases affection, and when a Chao becomes fully Hero or Dark it assumes that form permanently. Although Chao eventually die, if they received enough affection during their lives they reincarnate.
Adventure 2 has 180 emblems, earned for a variety of tasks. Each level has five missions; only the first is required to continue the campaign, and other missions include completing a harder version of a level and collecting 100 rings. The player earns emblems by completing missions and other tasks, many related to Chao raising. Collecting all the emblems unlocks a 3D version of the Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
The game has several two-player modes. Players may race on foot through new (or altered) levels, have shoot-'em-up battles in mechs, hunt for Master Emerald shards or race in go-karts. A few characters are playable in these modes, but not in the main game; Tikal and Chaos from the original Sonic Adventure is playable in the treasure-hunting game, as are Amy and Metal Sonic in the foot-racing levels.
After learning about a secret weapon from the diary of his late grandfather, Professor Gerald Robotnik, Eggman infiltrates a high-security G.U.N. facility to find it, and uses a Chaos Emerald to free it. This weapon, a black hedgehog and self-proclaimed "Ultimate Life Form" named Shadow, offers to help Eggman take over the world, telling him to rendezvous at the abandoned Space Colony ARK with more Chaos Emeralds. Shadow then goes to Central City, where he steals a second Emerald and encounters some soldiers of the military group G.U.N. He flashes back to the death of a girl, Maria, who begs him to fulfill an unspecified promise he interprets as one of revenge. Shadow blasts through the military force and meets Sonic, who the military mistook for Shadow. After a brief confrontation, Shadow escapes and G.U.N. arrests Sonic.
Knuckles and Rouge are fighting over the Master Emerald, when Eggman suddenly grabs the Master Emerald with a large claw, and begins to fly off in his Eggmobile. After Knuckles leaps into the air, shattering the Emerald to prevent this, he looks for the scattered shards. Rouge intends to collect the shards for herself, but - as a government spy - she also must spy on Eggman. This mission leads her to Eggman's base and, eventually, the ARK. On board, Shadow shows Eggman a superweapon known as the Eclipse Cannon, also created by Gerald Robotnik. Shadow discloses the plan: to charge the Eclipse Cannon with Chaos Emeralds and use it to take over the world. Rouge appears and feigns her allegiance to Shadow and Eggman, offering them a third Emerald to gain their trust.
Tails and Amy infiltrate G.U.N.'s island base and rescue Sonic, while Eggman, Shadow and Rouge collect three more Emeralds on the island before blowing it up. Eggman broadcasts his threat around the world, demonstrating the cannon's power by destroying half of the Moon. Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles use their Chaos Emerald to track down the other six. They infiltrate Eggman's base, boarding his shuttle as it launches into space. Knuckles' Emerald shards are spilled along the way, and he leaves to collect them. He again meets and fights Rouge, but when he saves her from falling into a lava pit, she surrenders her shards and Knuckles restores the Master Emerald.
On the ARK, Tails reveals that he has designed a counterfeit Chaos Emerald to reverse the energy fields of the real ones. Just as Sonic is about to put the fake Emerald into the cannon, Eggman tells him that he has captured Tails and Amy, forcing him to return with the Chaos Emerald and rescue them. Sonic tries to trick Eggman with the fake Emerald, but Eggman traps and jettisons him in an escape pod rigged with explosives. Using the fake, Sonic performs Chaos Control and escapes; Tails, thinking Sonic is dead, defeats Eggman, but Eggman sneaks away with the real Emerald when Tails is distracted. Rouge hacks into the ARK's computers for information on the Ultimate Life Form project, suggesting Shadow is not the Ultimate Life Form, and attempts to retake the other Emeralds, but is caught and found out by Shadow before he is sent to stop Sonic from reaching the Eclipse Cannon. Sonic defeats Shadow and uses the fake Emerald to destroy the Cannon.
When Eggman loads the last Emerald into the cannon and tries to fire it at full power, the ARK begins falling toward Earth and a recorded message from Gerald Robotnik, Eggman's grandfather, is broadcast worldwide: he programmed the ARK to inevitably collide with Earth, destroying it in revenge against humanity. His diary reveals that this hatred began when the government condemned his research and killed a number of his colleagues, along with his granddaughter Maria, in an attempt to shut the ARK down, and he programmed his Ultimate Life Form, Shadow, to carry out his plan of revenge. Eggman determines that the Emeralds' energy is making the ARK fall, and everyone works to access the cannon's core and neutralize it.
Shadow declines to help the others, but Amy urges him to help, making him remember Maria's real request: for him to help mankind. With this knowledge, he races for the core, where Sonic and Knuckles encounter the Biolizard, the prototype of the Ultimate Life Form. Shadow arrives and holds it at bay, allowing Knuckles to deactivate the Chaos Emeralds using the Master Emerald. The Biolizard then uses Chaos Control to fuse with the cannon, becoming the Finalhazard and continuing the ARK's collision course.
Sonic and Shadow use the Chaos Emeralds to transform into their super forms, Super Sonic and Super Shadow, defeating the Finalhazard and using Chaos Control to teleport the ARK into a stable orbit around Earth. This depletes Shadow's energy and he plummets to Earth, content that he has fulfilled his promise to Maria, and is presumed dead. As the people of Earth celebrate, the teams reflect on what has happened; as they leave the station, Sonic bids Shadow a final farewell by saying "Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog.".
Sonic Adventure 2 was developed by Sonic Team USA, the now-defunct U.S. division of Sonic Team, and published by Sega. The game, directed by longtime series contributor Takashi Iizuka, was developed over an 18-month period beginning shortly after the release of the American version of Sonic Adventure in 1999. It was designed to be more action-oriented than the slower-paced, more story-driven Adventure. The development team ran the game at 60 frames per second with "tempo", giving Sonic a variety of actions rather than focusing on speed alone. Its levels facilitated this flow, making Sonic seem faster than he was.
For the game's levels and environments the developers were inspired by San Francisco (their headquarters) and other American locations, such as Yosemite National Park (where they vacationed during its development) and the San Francisco Bay Area. Compared to Adventure, the sequel was intended to have "more of an American flavor". Although the game's level design prioritized the frame rate, it was more streamlined than Adventure because of the team's experience with Dreamcast hardware.
Iizuka described the Chao as a "relative neutral entity" in Sonic Adventure. In the sequel the developers expanded the creatures' presence, adding the ability to raise "Hero" and "Dark" Chao to reflect the conflict between good and evil. For the same reason, all six playable characters have roughly equal gameplay time (unlike Adventure, where Big the Cat's and E-102 Gamma's stories were short). In Adventure 2 Chao have the ability to socialize, so they resemble a "real artificial life form."
Sega announced a follow-up to Sonic Adventure and a spinoff (which would become Sonic Shuffle) on October 4, 1999. The newly named Sonic Adventure 2 appeared at E3 2000, with Sonic Team adding video shown there to its website on June 30. Sonic Team posted a trailer and a number of screenshots on May 30, 2001, with Sega promoting Sonic Adventure 2 as the last Sonic game for the Dreamcast and as marking the series' 10th anniversary. Sega held a 10th-anniversary party for Sonic in June 2001, at which attendees could compete in a battle tournament; the winner played against Iizuka.
Jun Senoue returned as lead composer and sound director for Adventure 2, with assistance from Fumie Kumatani, Tomoya Ohtani, and Kenichi Tokoi. The soundtrack is primarily melodic rock, with some hip-hop and orchestral tracks. As in Adventure, each character has a musical theme. The game features performances by returning vocalists Tony Harnell, Ted Poley, Marlon Saunders, Nikki Gregoroff and Johnny Gioeli, and new vocalists Tabitha Fair, Todd Cooper, Paul Shortino, Everett Bradley, Kaz Silver and Hunnid-P. Crush 40 (consisting of Senoue and Gioeli) debuted on the game's main theme, "Live & Learn".
Several soundtrack albums for the game were released. Sonic Adventure 2 Multi-Dimensional Original Soundtrack was released in Japan by Marvelous Entertainment on September 5, 2001. Sonic Adventure 2 Vocals Collection: Cuts Unleashed (ソニックアドベンチャー2 カッツ・アンリッシュド ヴォーカル・コレクション?), with character theme tracks by Senoue and Tokoi, was released by MMV in Japan on August 21, 2001. For the twentieth anniversary of the Sonic series, Sonic Adventure 2 Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition was released on iTunes on June 22, 2011. On October 29, 2014, a two volume original soundtrack was also released on iTunes.
Alternate versions and releases
A Nintendo GameCube port, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (ソニックアドベンチャー2 バトル?)—the first game in the series for a Nintendo console—was released on December 20, 2001 in Japan, February 11, 2002 in North America, and May 3, 2002 in PAL regions. This port upgraded much of the Chao-raising system, with a Chao's stats viewable within the game. A player can transfer one Chao from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle to the Tiny Chao Garden section in Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2, and Sonic Pinball Party with the GameCube-Game Boy Advance link cable. If a Game Boy Advance is connected without a GBA game inserted, a version of the Tiny Chao Garden can be copied temporarily into the Game Boy Advance's memory. This version also introduced the Chao Karate feature. The Battle multiplayer options were expanded in the GameCube version, including new abilities and upgrades to multiplayer-exclusive characters and removing online play. One character, Big the Cat, was replaced by a Dark Chao in multiplayer mode. Battle also has more detailed textures and additional scenery.
Sonic Adventure 2 was re-released in high-definition video, with additional content from the Battle edition available as downloadable content. This version was released on the PlayStation Network in North America on October 2, 2012, in Europe on October 3, 2012 and in Japan on October 4, 2012. It was released worldwide on the Xbox Live Arcade on October 5, 2012 and on Microsoft Windows via Steam on November 19, 2012.
Sonic Adventure 2 received critical acclaim, with scores of 89 percent and 83.3 percent from review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings. Critics appreciated the game's multiple playing styles. According to Edge and reviewer Four-Eyed Dragon of GamePro, the core game's three styles and bonus features such as Chao gardens made the game engaging to play. Johnny Liu of Game Revolution praised its replay value of multiple playing styles and 180 different goals. Anthony Chau of IGN called it "one of the best Sonic games ever": "If this is the last Sonic game in these declining Dreamcast years, it's satisfying to know that the DC didn't go out with a bang, but with a sonic boom."
Shahed Ahmed of GameSpot criticized Adventure 2's camera for the "cardinal sin" of 3D platformers: forcing a player to jump to an out-of-frame platform. Ahmed wrote that although a player can re-orient the camera with the trigger buttons, it reverts when the character moves. According to Chau and Liu, camera issues were absent in Tails' and Eggman's levels and insignificant in Sonic's and Shadow's, but searching for Emerald shards and items in cramped sections of Knuckles' and Rouge's levels was frustrating. Edge found camera problems permeating the game, with no significant improvement from Adventure.
Liu called the graphics "sweet, sweet eye-crack". Four-Eyed Dragon wrote: "Sonic [Adventure] 2 is simply jaw-dropping beautiful", citing its detailed backgrounds and scenery and the playable characters' and enemies' extensive color palettes. According to Chau, the game had "some of the best textures ever seen" and was one of the most beautiful Dreamcast games. Edge was impressed by the texture detail and draw distance, and Chau, Liu and Ahmed praised its 60-frame-per-second rendering speed.
According to Ahmed, the game's music was a step up from Adventure's "campy glam-rock and J-pop soundtrack", with less emphasis on lyrics, and Liu appreciated its more "understated" approach. Four-Eyed Dragon called Adventure 2's music "an eclectic mix of orchestrated masterpieces, guitar tunes, and melodic hip-hop voices gracefully fill the game's ambiance to a perfect pitch." Reaction to the voice acting was mixed; although Ahmed said "The voice acting, and the lip-synching in particular, is executed quite well", Liu and Chau thought the English voices were inferior to the Japanese ones.
Ahmed criticized Adventure 2's plot: "Throughout the game the plot becomes more and more scattered and lackluster", not focusing long enough on one element to execute it meaningfully. Although Liu agreed that despite the game's ambitious scope and themes it failed to advance the series' core plot beyond the Sega Genesis Sonic games, Edge appreciated the story's presentation from both perspectives: hero and villain.
Despite high review scores for the Dreamcast version and the GameCube version six months later, Battle received poorer reviews: respective Metacritic and GameRankings scores of 73 percent and 72.33 percent. Critics generally felt that although the game was still enjoyable, it was not significantly improved from the Dreamcast original. However, Shane Bettenhausen of GameSpy saw Battle as noticeably superior; in addition to its upgrades, its action was better suited to the GameCube's controller than the Dreamcast's. The game sold almost 50,000 copies in its first week in Japan and 1.44 million copies in the United States by December 2007, making it one of the best-selling GameCube versions.
Sonic Adventure 2 received several accolades, including the 2001 IGN's Editors' Choice Award. ScrewAttack called it the fifth-best Dreamcast game, and GamesRadar rated it the tenth-greatest Dreamcast game out of 25: "Despite trailing off significantly in recent years, the 3D side of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise had a surprisingly stellar start with the Sonic Adventure entries, and the 2001 sequel really amped up the action". In February 2014, IGN's Luke Karmali called Battle his tenth-favorite game of all time.
Shadow and Rouge, who debuted in Adventure 2, have become recurring characters in the Sonic franchise. With new character E-123 Omega they were Team Dark (a playable character team) in 2003's Sonic Heroes, the follow-up to Adventure 2. Shadow's own game, Shadow the Hedgehog (2005), expands many of Adventure 2's plot points and has a similar 3D platforming gameplay style.
With a few modifications, the plots of Adventure and Adventure 2 were used in the second season of the anime Sonic X (2003–06). Although the American licensing corporation 4Kids Entertainment hired a new voice cast for the English version, the Japanese cast of the games reprised their original roles.
Sonic Generations (2011), released for the series' twentieth anniversary, contains gameplay elements and levels from Sonic games. Elements from Sonic Adventure 2 included remakes of the City Escape stage in the console versions and the Radical Highway stage in the Nintendo 3DS version. Both versions include a remade boss fight with Shadow, in which he battles Sonic on the Space Colony Ark, and the Biolizard boss is recreated in the 3DS version.
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Caption: Extra Stage: Green Hill
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- Dark Story, Level 1: Iron Gate
- Hero Story, Level 2: Wild Canyon
- Dark Story, Level 5: Egg Quarters
- Hero Story, Level 3: Prison Lane
- Dark Story, Level 7: Weapons Bed
- Dark Story, Level 8: Security Hall
- Dark Story, Level 9: White Jungle
- Hero Story, Levels 10: Hidden Base, 11: Pyramid Cave, and 12: Death Chamber
- Hero Story, Level 14: Meteor Herd
- Hero Story, Level 15: Crazy Gadget and Dark Story, Level 13: Cosmic Wall
- Hero Story, Level 16: Final Rush
- Dark Story, Level 14: Final Chase
- Last Story: Cannon's Core
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